Does Omicron pose a threat to future Covid-19 surge?

NEW DELHI: There is a concern for countries on the spread of the new Covid-19 variant, although there is no study to prove it. On 23rd November, South Africa, revealed to the world the presence of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the country, B.1.1.529 variant, named as Omicron by WHO’s Greek naming system, has been a concern for scientists and health officials around the world. As per WHO, the origins of the variant still remain uncertain.

Other than South Africa, 15 countries in Africa has detected the new variant. No Omicron case has been reported in India yet in Karnataka, two South African returnees whose samples are found varied from Delta variant.

Tedros Adhanom Gherbreyesus, WHO Director-General said, the Omicron variant as “perilous and precarious.” It’s hard for health officials at the present stage to give a detailed study on the spread of Omicron internationally or if it would beat Delta as the primary variant. Experts are working on the preliminary clinical reports from South Africa to know more about the presence of Omicron.

South African Doctor Unben Pillay said that Omicron cases have been typically mild to date, and that vaccinated people tend to do much better. The cases reported are more in people who are unvaccinated, South African health officials noted. The vaccination drive is slow in Africa compared to other countries, which could be one reason for the spread, noted few researchers.

Completely understanding the dynamics of Omicron infections will require health experts to gather more data over the coming days.

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